It could be UK! Predictors and correlates of participation in the National Lottery

Paul Webley, Paul Rogers, Elliot Coups, Geoff Haddock

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNConference contribution with ISSN or ISBNpeer-review


Previous studies of lottery play have tended to concentrate on just one aspect of participation, and have [not] looked at social psychological, economic, cognitive or personality variables. This paper reports two studies which investigated variables associated with all these approaches within an integrative framework. The first study (of 309 general public and student respondents) revealed that lottery play was positively associated with friends’ lottery play, the purchase of lottery scratch cards, frequency of other gambling and misunderstanding of odds and negatively associated with education. This evidence suggests that participation in the lottery is best understood as primarily a social activity. In the second study a total of 384 respondents were asked about their own lottery play behaviour, their knowledge of lottery odds and their beliefs about the role skill, chance, luck and optimism in lottery play. Frequency of lottery play was found to be positively correlated with age, income, Instants play, gambling on horse/greyhound racing, the football pools, and bingo as well as with beliefs about skill, luck and optimism. Frequency of lottery play was negatively correlated with general education and win likelihoods based on the perceived randomness of number combinations. Compared to individual players, syndicate lottery players had lower maths based education. Played more regularity, had a poorer knowledge of lottery odds and tended to gamble more on the football pools. Results are discussed in the light of current cognitive theories on the misperception of probability and in the need for future models to recognise social factors inherent in lottery play; specifically, the differing motivations of syndicate and non-syndicate lottery players.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe 22nd IAREP Colloquium
EditorsI. Quintanilla Pardo
Place of PublicationValencia, Spain
Publication statusPublished - 1997


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